Yes, I Use A Typewriter But No, I'm Not A Hipster

Yes, I Use A Typewriter But No, I'm Not A Hipster

Unplugged, unfiltered me.

Technology is a double-edged sword, or if you prefer, a double-edged lightsaber. The digital playground can be a harmless landscape you plug in and turn on for awhile. Or it can be an itch you have to scratch but rather than clean the dirt from under your nails, you leave it there out of, yet another, habit.

When we're met with new technology, there is a new responsibility that comes with it. A tool that makes my life easier isn't necessarily a bad thing, but in a general sense, that ease and that comfort takes away difference. As a creative person, I cannot allow myself to give into distractions when there is a process to be made.

I agree, it takes a good amount of self-control and discipline to keep your research and work research and work instead of YouTube watching and aimless social media scrolling. There isn't a need to become a complete Luddite and rely on a compass, map, the sun and the stars as my GPS. But when in doubt, go the old fashioned route.

This is my Smith-Corona Galaxie XII typewriter. I bought it off a wagon from a man named eBay. I bought a typewriter not out of impulse, though the machine does have a magnetic charm. When I write with a word processor, the impulse to write, to write faster, makes the creative process overwhelming rather than creative.

A computer does not facilitate impulse, it welcomes it. A traditional computer, a typewriter, knows what you're thinking and feeling. The typewriter will show you all your typos, all your frustration, but most important of all, your concentration.

I don't have the urge to unlock my phone and stare into a blinding blue screen every moment I have with myself. I put myself in a tactile position; the world is off the cuff and you're on your toes. You are your own presentation again. From the words down to the voice, you are sharing who you are in real time, not at anytime or all the time.

Ink ribbons are your batteries and passwords now. Sticky keys are equivalent to a computer freezing but the solution is only a hand's length away. Dust, rust, and lack of oil are your only viruses. Feed a page into the platen roller and you're off the grid!

Every time the carriage crawls to the end before I hit the return lever, the machine of yesterday gives a resounding ring from the past. The freshly pressed ink from the face of the key leaves an imprint on paper forever. Writing is a tangible experience again.

Slowing down for the sake of quality, clear thinking is better than speeding up for the sake of quantity. As I type on Word, I found myself staring at the word count rather than thinking of my next sentence. When I use an online thesaurus, the rabbit hole of the internet takes over and I go from looking at definitions to doing more research than was needed to write a figure of speech.

I know what 250 words looks like on a page but sometimes knowing takes away the possibilities and spontaneity of the creative process. Making something out of nothing, having the bare necessities to work with, to be at a level of discomfort fuels and expresses the needs of an artist. I do not think play should be my work. Instead, work should be my play.

Turn off the TV, stay off social media, and limit your texts and phone calls for a week. See if you survive. Look into someone's face in person, not on FaceTime. Stop sexting during sex. The analog life has connections that are always on and charged to 100%.

Cover Image Credit: Brent M. Wiggins

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